Business owners and entrepreneurs should begin with the development of a business plan when starting a new business. These steps will give the new business owners a solid plan of action and help them understand their market before they open their doors. While not all entrepreneurs take the time to develop a business plan, those who seek financial investments and loans will be required to put their plan on paper.

All business plans should begin with a cover page that includes the contact information of the business owner. Following the cover page should be an executive summary which describes why the business is likely to be successful, what the business does and what market demands it meets. Next, the plan should have a company overview and history of the company, an industry analysis of market trends and a customer analysis which identifies the new company’s target customers.

A good business plan also includes a competitive analysis that identifies how the new business will be more successful than its competitors and a marketing plan to detail how the company will get new customers. An operations plan that outlines the daily processes of the company and a list of the management team should follow. The financial plan – which will demonstrate how the company will generate income – will be very important to potential investors, and an appendix full of projections will be helpful in obtaining funding.

Business formation & planning can be daunting without the help of a professional. A commercial attorney who is familiar with Ohio law may be of help to entrepreneurs who are planning new businesses or seeking funding. Such a specialized lawyer may be able to make the process easier than if the business owner were to go at it alone.

Source: Forbes, “Business plan template: what to include“, Dave Lavinsky, July 18, 2013